By Sam Wolf
When a business manufactures its own goods, it’s easy to maintain control over production values. The company can oversee everything from ingredient sourcing and labor to packaging.
But for mission-driven retailers, the task is much more complicated. With so many brands in the health, wellness and sustainability markets, how do you cut through the buzz to select the best products?
A company must have guiding principles as it evaluates the large selection of items available for distribution. Before vetting merchandise, the retailer must clearly identify what it represents and where it draws clear lines.
Third-party standards are key in product selection. However, the clarity and availability of these standards vary greatly within different product sectors. For instance, organic food is standardly defined by the USDA label. But while Non-GMO Verified is a trusted label, it is not the only one that identifies a GMO-free product.
For personal care products, appliances, housewares and gadgets, there are very few clearly-defined certifications or standards. Retailers must vet the quality of manufacturing and production as well as the company’s testing practices and the overall reputation of a brand.
There are dozens of third-party certifications, and most have some degree of value. But it depends greatly on the values of the individual consumer. For instance, my company, LuckyVitamin, features brands that are local or made in the U.S., but also believes in fair-trade initiatives and helping to develop better trading conditions in developing countries by promoting sustainability. The company supports all types of diet choices, whether vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, raw, kosher, paleo or still undecided.
Retailers also must decide how much they will let customer demand influence their inventory. You want to be able to supply customers with what they want in a convenient fashion so they don’t shop elsewhere, but at the same time can not provide everything for everyone. How far are you willing to waver outside of your standards without being put outside your comfort zone?
It’s also important to realize that standards evolve, and what is considered important today may not be relevant tomorrow as new studies and information come to light. A thoughtfully curated product catalog is bound to fluctuate, and should be recalibrated as standards evolve.
Overall, the key to a carefully-crafted product selection is transparency. No matter what category you are selling, each brand should be able to provide full ingredient transparency and work with the third-party testing groups available in their industries.
Retailers’ standards may vary, but the consumer should always have accurate information provided to make a choice based on their personal values.
Image credit: Pixabay
Sam Wolf is the Founder and Chief Wellness Spreader at LuckyVitamin, a family operated branded global e-commerce destination for affordable natural health and wellness products. Sam takes pride in spreading wellness by leading the LuckyVitamin team as they work to provide customers with the best natural products, health information, outstanding service and shopping experience supporting their wellness journeys. Learn more at www.luckyvitamin.com.